Seven state luminaries were inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday in a ceremony at the Cox Convention Center.
The Hall's newest members are retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, oil executive Harold Hamm, Harlem Globetrotters great Marques Haynes, former Oklahoma first lady Cathy Keating, business leader Steve Malcolm, country singer Roger Miller and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.
The inductees were honored with individual video tributes and Hall of Fame medallions. They were introduced by presenters of their choosing, including leaders in business, media, education and athletics.
Miller, who died of cancer in 1992, was honored posthumously. His widow, Mary Miller, planned to be present for the induction ceremony but was unable to attend due to a family medical situation. Instead, the Millers' son, country singer Dean Miller, represented the family, singing a version of his father's 1964 hit, “King of the Road.”
Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed on citizens by the state. The new members join 641 previous honorees enshrined in the Hall since 1928.
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery opened at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 2007.
Portraits of the inductees will be added to the gallery. Touch-screen computers allow visitors to access biographies and photographs.
Members are selected based on public service and other contributions to humanity, the state and the nation.
Gov. Mary Fallin appeared at the event. “We have the most dynamic heritage of any state in the union. I am proud to be an Oklahoman,” she said, closing the ceremony.
The Oklahoman spoke with six of the inductees or their representatives in the days leading up to the induction ceremony.
Tommy Franks, Wynnewood
“What a neat deal,” Franks said in a phone interview. “Clay Bennett called me, gosh, maybe eight months ago and said he'd nominated me to do this, and I thought it'd be a great deal. My gosh, what an honor.”
Franks, 66, was born in Wynnewood but grew up in Midland, Texas. After two years at the University of Texas, he joined the Army. Later he earned degrees from UT-Arlington and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Franks was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, overseeing military operations in 25 countries. He led the attacks on the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
His efforts earned him an assortment of military honors, including three Bronze Stars with valor and three Purple Hearts for his work in Vietnam. He received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, Air Medal with Valor, and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor.
He retired from the military in 2003 but hasn't slowed down.
“We're going just about nonstop,” he said. “A couple weeks ago we were in Jordan at the World Economic Forum. Before that, we were down in Texas doing some talks, and then we were up in North Carolina. ... My wife (Cathryn) and I just do a great deal of traveling, but we're home-based in Oklahoma on a little ranch down by Roosevelt. We probably spend about 90 percent of our time here.”
Franks was introduced at the induction ceremony by Bennett, the president of Dorchester Capital and chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Franks said the Hall of Fame is important because of the values for which it stands.
“More than being about those of us who are fortunate to be selected to join the ranks of the Hall of Fame,” he said, “it's about what Oklahoma represents.”
Harold Hamm, Enid
Asked to describe how he feels about his inclusion in the Hall of Fame, Hamm came up with one word: “Wonderful.”
“That's the best way to describe it right off,” said Hamm, 65, an oilman who came from working class roots. “It's a tremendous honor. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.”
Hamm is the youngest of 13 children, all but three of whom have perished. His parents were sharecroppers. After graduating from Enid High School, he worked in the oil fields before launching a one-truck oil-field service business in Ringwood.
In 1967, he incorporated Shelly Dean Oil Co., which later became Continental Resources, an oil and gas exploration company operating in 20 countries. Hamm is chairman and chief executive.
He is chairman of the board of Hiland Partners GP Holdings and a board member of Complete Production Services. He is past chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and a founding member of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.
The Harold and Sue Ann Hamm Foundation donated $10 million for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center at OU Medical Center.
In a phone interview, he said his success was fueled by a constant feeling that time was wasting. He needed to hurry.
“My career is one of those things that I kind of look at as almost divine, you know, in how humbly I got started in the business,” he said. “I went at it the wrong way. I did the whole thing backward. I went out in the oil field and made a fortune, and then I went to college.”
University of Oklahoma President David Boren presented Hamm at the induction. The two have been friends since Boren's gubernatorial campaign in 1974.
“We both came from humble means,” Hamm said. “I'm very proud of what he's accomplished in his life, so I thought he could share some of the things we've been through over the years. I'm one of his biggest fans, and he's been one of mine, frankly.”
Marques Haynes, Sand Springs
Haynes, 85, already is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Langston University Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Thursday's induction ceremony brought his total to five.
“I don't have a favorite,” he said recently. “I got the same good feeling about each one of them.”
Haynes was born in Sand Springs and led Booker T. Washington High School to the 1941 national basketball championship. He starred at Langston from 1942-1946, leading the team in scoring and to a record of 112-3.
In the late stages of Haynes' collegiate career, Langston played the Harlem Globetrotters in Oklahoma City. Langston won by four points, and the Globetrotters were so impressed by Haynes' performance that they tried to hire him on the spot.
“They wanted me to travel with them that night,” he said. “I told them, ‘I can't leave here. I'm a senior in college. I'm set to graduate in May. If I left and my Mom found out, she'd find me and kill me.”
After graduation, he played six years with the Globetrotters. His career included stints with the Harlem Magicians, which he founded, as well as the Harlem Wizards and the Bucketeers.
In a career spanning four decades, he played more than 12,000 games, traveled more than 4 million miles and wowed fans in nearly 100 countries. He retired in 1992.
NBA legend Bill Russell presented Haynes at the induction ceremony. The two have been friends for decades, Haynes said. The Magicians sometimes played on the preliminary card at Boston Gardens before Russell's Celtics took the floor.
Cathy Keating, Tulsa
“I am humbled and honored,” Keating said of her inclusion in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. “It really is, not the pinnacle of one's life, but certainly the highest honor in one's life. I'm elated. I'm thrilled.”
Keating, 61, is a fourth-generation Oklahoman, an author and the state's first lady from 1995 to 2003.
After the Oklahoma City bombing, Keating implemented an international prayer service. She wrote “In Their Name: The Oklahoma City Bombing.” The book made The New York Times best-seller list, and proceeds went to Project Recovery OKC.
She also wrote “Our Governor's Mansion” and “Ooh La La: Cuisine Presented in a Stately Manner.” The books benefited the Friends of the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion, a nonprofit she founded to restore and preserve the mansion.
She has been a board member or chairman of a variety of entities, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Oklahoma City Salvation Army capital campaign, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Express Services Inc. and the American Red Cross capital campaign in Washington, D.C.
She and her husband, former Gov. Frank Keating, split their time between Oklahoma and Washington. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
She was introduced Thursday by Sam Donaldson, the longtime correspondent/anchor for ABC News. Donaldson is the Keatings' neighbor in Washington.
“We share kind of the same Western values,” she said recently. “Sam grew up in New Mexico. He still has a ranch in New Mexico. His love of the West and his roots are tied to the West, just like mine and Frank's.”
Keating said she never imagined she'd be inducted into the Hall.
“The Hall of Fame is not about one person,” she said. “It's really about the state of Oklahoma and the people who made our state great.”
Steve Malcolm, Tulsa
Malcolm, 63, is the fourth chief executive officer of Tulsa-based Williams Co. to make it into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
“I'm honored to be recognized,” he said in a phone interview. “It's a very impressive group. All of these people, many of whom I've idolized over the years, seem be part of this class, so it's a real honor.”
Malcolm, who retired in 2010, became the company's CEO in 2002, inheriting a financial crisis caused by the fall of the energy trading and telecommunications industries. He steered Williams into a period of growth and expansion.
“I was truly blessed to be able to work at Williams,” he said. “It's a great place to work. The values there make it a place where people are glad to work. ... Clearly, any accomplishments that I've been able to achieve are tied to my time at Williams and the support I had from Williams employees.”
Malcolm has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He was a board member or chairman of many organizations, including the Tulsa Future Oversight Committee, the Tulsa Stadium Trust, the YMCA of Greater Tulsa, YMCA of the U.S.A., St. John Medical Center, the University of Tulsa trustees and the Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, among others.
He also was a member or executive of several industry groups, including the American Exploration & Production Council, the American Natural Gas Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Corporate Directors and the National Petroleum Council.
He was introduced Thursday by Alison Anthony, director of Diversity and Community Relations at Williams and president of The Williams Foundation.
Roger Miller, Erick
Miller, who died of lung cancer at age 56 in 1992, was a prolific songwriter, singer and actor.
His widow said he would've been shocked to be included in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
“I like to say that Roger was a dreamer, but he never would have expected anything like this,” Mary Miller said in a phone interview from her Tennessee home. “He loved Oklahoma. Most of his songs are about people there. As much as he hated working in the oil fields and had a rough time as a boy in the cotton fields ... he would truly be honored by this.”
Her husband, she said, was in the vanguard of his generation of country singers. He'd begun writing songs during three-mile walks to school in Erick, and his dreams of success were fueled by his connection with Sheb Wooley, an entertainer who appeared in films and sang the novelty song, “Purple People Eater.”
After a stint in the Army, Roger Miller went to Nashville, Tenn., where he played fiddle in Minnie Pearl's band and collaborated with George Jones.
He married and moved to Amarillo, Texas, where Ray Price asked him to join the Cherokee Cowboys. He returned to Nashville, signed a songwriting contract and launched a solo career that included hits such as “You Don't Want My Love,” “Engine Engine #9” and “The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me.”
He partnered with Willie Nelson on “Old Friends,” his last top 20 hit. He won a Tony award for his work on “Big River,” a Broadway adaptation of “Huckleberry Finn.”
“He drew so much of what he wrote from the people he knew in Oklahoma,” Mary Miller said. “He never really expected people to like him. ... He was just a prolific writer. That's what he did. He never expected to get anything from it.”
Elizabeth Warren, Oklahoma City
Warren, 61, could not be reached before the ceremony, but Thursday night she acknowledged her inclusion into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for her family, saying “family means everything to me.” Upon accepting her award, she said, “For me, Oklahoma is really a place in the heart.”
The Northwest Classen High School debate champion — and former assistant to President Barack Obama — is running for a U.S. Senate seat as a Democrat in Massachusetts.
In 2008, Warren was appointed to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing the bank bailouts. She was a special adviser to the secretary of the treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is the Leo Gottlieb professor of law at Harvard University.
She was chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and was appointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist as the first academic member of the Federal Judicial Education Committee. She has been a member of the Commission on Economic Inclusion and vice president of the American Law Institute. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Warren has written nine books and more than 100 scholarly articles about credit and economic stress. Her most recent two books, “The Two-Income Trap” and “All Your Worth,” were national best-sellers.
She has testified several times before House and Senate committees on financial issues. Time magazine has twice named her one of its 100 most influential people in the world. The Boston Globe named her Bostonian of the Year, and the National Law Journal called her one of the most influential lawyers of the decade.
She was introduced Thursday by T. Boone Pickens, a Holdenville native and Dallas-based energy magnate.